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Carroll School of Management

Christopher A. Viehbacher

Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi, and Chairman, Genzyme Corporation

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College’s Chief Executives’ Club of Boston 

March 6, 2012

TAKEAWAY: GLOBAL TALENT

When you look at K through 12 education scores in the United States versus the rest of the world, the United States is not keeping up with a pipeline of talented people [out] there. We need to attract and retain global talent.

One of the things that's most interesting when you travel around—I was in Brazil, for example, just before Christmas, and I was meeting with some scientists in Brazil. Where do the best scientists want to go in Brazil? They want to come to the Boston-Cambridge area. One of the things I think that is extremely important, and if you talk to CEOs anywhere in the technology area, and you may have had this problem, we’ve got to find the right balance between immigration and security, and being able to have the brightest minds to help us do the innovation. Thus far, I think the Boston-Cambridge area has been very good at that.

But I can tell you that I was meeting with the Premier of Quebec at Davos, and he is busy rubbing his hands because they are able to attract an awful lot of talent that gets refused entry to the U.S. I understand something like 200,000 Ph.D.’s were denied entry to the U.S. That’s an awful lot of lost talent that has gone.